Dr. Tom Boomershine
Founder of the Network of Biblical Storytellers International, Dr. Tom Boomershine is an internationally known speaker and author in the interpretation of the Bible as oral story. His passion is in communicating the stories of Jesus by heart, and helping others understand the ways in which the Holy Word is interpreted through the lens of it originating as a spoken word communal "performance". He served as the G. Ernest Thomas Distinguished Professor of Christianity and Communication at United Theological Seminary in Dayton Ohio from 2004-2006 and Professor of New Testament before that. He continues to write and produce multimedia resources for the interpretation of the Bible in digital culture.
As part of his research and ministry, Tom began telling the Gospel of Mark in the early ’70’s. His book, Story Journey: An Invitation to the Gospel as Storytelling, is published by Abingdon Press.
Tom’s work on learning scripture by heart became a lifeline for him when, shortly after obtaining his PhD from Union Theological Seminary, in New York, on “Mark as Storyteller,” he was hit by a car. With serious injuries to both legs, he had months of recovery and pain to cope with. In those long days and nights, he found that, while he could not focus on reading, he could ‘read’ the Word of God that he had committed to memory. This experience was life-changing for him and led him to found the Network of Biblical Storytellers International in 1977.
There are now networks around the world, including Canada, Australia, India, Cameroon, South Africa and the Philippines, each of them ecumenical in nature. Having pastored in six denominations, Dr. Boomershine describes himself as an "ecu-maniac". His conviction is that scripture telling is a unifying spiritual discipline that can and should unite all Christians - the first and best way to share the Gospel. There is energy in the holy words. There is power for change.
Tom knows the entire book of Mark from memory. When asked about the PEACEBUILDING POWER OF SCRIPTURE TELLING, Tom says the stories about Jesus, and told by Jesus, show us a way of living and understanding God's Way of peace. Hearing text told by a real person lifts these accounts off the page, brings them closer to home. It changes the teller and it changes the receiver. Furthermore, our interpretation of what we hear is changed when we gain an understanding of the original audience not as a single, silent reader, but as a group being spoken to as a community. Through these words, we can change the world and learn to love our enemies. Tom says this can CHANGE EVERYTHING - personally, communally, globally.
Dr. Boomershine is a member of the Society of Biblical Literature and was the founder and past chair of the Bible in Ancient and Modern Media group. He has received major grants from the Lilly Endowment for research in the media history of Christianity and has participated in several international research conferences on Christianity and communications. He has published a range of articles on the Gospels as story, the intersection of biblical studies and communication, the church in digital culture, and digital biblical interpretation.
Tom is married to Dr. Amelia Boomershine. Together they have a blended family of five grown children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. They are both authors and support each other in their passion for telling scripture. Tom is also a pianist and organist and has played publicly since he was 12. He and Amelia make their home in Dayton Ohio.
Tom Boomershine Keynote Addresses, April 9-11
WHAT-WHY-WHEN BIBLICAL STORYTELLING?
Tom will start us off on a journey through the ancient origins of Biblical Storytelling in Israel, and in the telling of stories of Jesus. We will hear about how Biblical Storytelling is re-emerging as a way of studying the text, and about some of the experimental research into current scripture telling. Tom will share personal testimony and community stories in this introduction, scripture will be told (of course!), and the theme of Jesus the Messiah of Peace will be introduced.
THE ORIGINS AND IMPACT OF THE GOSPEL OF MARK
Jesus talked about a new upside-down kingdom - about responding to enemies and violence with good. We will explore the storytelling origins of the Gospel of Mark and how, in the aftermath of the Jewish-Roman War, the themes of war and peace loom so large in this Gospel. We’ll listen to some of those stories as an encounter with Jesus and his new Way.
THE STORY OF THE MESSIAH OF PEACE
Ancient and modern tales tend to glorify the myth of redemptive violence - the belief that evil can only be overcome by more violence. Here Tom will focus on the climactic accounts of Jesus' ministry, death and resurrection - stories which stand as vindication of God’s Way of overcoming the powers of evil. We will listen for the implications of these stories, which can lead us to peace-making in our day.